Last updated on September 29th, 2023 at 10:17 pm
When it comes to ergonomic desk setup, monitor arms and monitor stands are the two mounting devices for which many people have confusion in their minds.
However, both serve the same purpose to make monitor positioning better for users, but they are different and have different pros and cons over each other.
Hence, it is important to know the difference between monitor arms and monitor stands.
So, if you’re planning on building an ergonomic desk setup but are confused about monitor arm vs monitor stand, this article is a great solution for you.
This article covers all the pros and cons of monitor arms and monitor stands side by side so you’ll better decide which one is more suitable for your desk setup.
Let’s get started.
Why Does the Positioning of the Computer Monitor Matter?
Of course, the position of the computer monitor matters, and the reason is Ergonomics.
Since the monitor is the center of your workstation, it must be placed in a way that does not create any physical illness such as the neck, back, or shoulder strain.
If the monitor is too high or too low for your eyesight, it will allow you to work comfortably for a few minutes but this is not suitable for longer working hours.
Placing the monitor even a couple of inches lower or upper, front or back can make you lean forward or back to read the content on the screen.
And doing this for long working hours can cause more stress on your neck, shoulders and back and as a result, you’ll be paying for later medical expenses.
Hence, the placement of the monitor matter for maintaining a healthy posture.
The best position to place the computer monitor is at your eye level and the distance should be about an arm’s length away from you.
This positioning will help you avoid pain and discomfort from sitting in front of a computer monitor looking up or down at your screen all day long.
Monitor arms and monitor stands are just what help you maintain the right viewing angle with the monitor screen.
But since both are two different types of mounting systems, how would you decide which is the most suitable for your ergonomic workstation setup?
Hence it is worth knowing the difference between monitor arms and monitor stands so you know which type to choose.
So, let’s discuss all the advantages and disadvantages to better justify the monitor arm vs monitor stand debate.
Pros and Cons of Monitor Arms
Let’s first discuss the major pros of monitor arms that you get when this is a part of your workstation or gaming station.
Pros of Monitor Arms
1. Free up More Desk Space
By far the most worthy benefit of monitor arms is that they help increase the space on your desk, especially if you have a small desk.
The monitor arms are effective for all computer savvy who have limited space on their desks but need more free space to place other desk essentials and work supplies.
Since monitor arms mount the monitor above the desk, it creates ample free space underneath where you could have other important desk materials.
2. Supports Multiple Monitors
The second biggest advantage of incorporating monitor arms in your setup is that it helps you create a heavy setup with multiple monitors.
The monitor arms come to support 2 monitors, 3 monitors, and even 6 monitors to form a large heavy setup with multiple monitors.
There are many heavy-duty monitor arms also available that are designed to handle heavy ultrawide monitors and the HUANUO HNSS7 is one such model.
This is the reason why most PC gamers and programmers use monitor arms in their setup to maximize productivity and improve the gaming experience.
3. Easier to Move Around
The major reason why you should invest in a monitor arm for your setup is it allows you to adjust the monitor screen to make the viewing angle perfect.
A monitor arm can be adjusted forward, backward, up, down, left, or right to make the viewing angle perfect with the monitor and your eyesight.
And as we know perfect viewing angle is important to maintain a healthy workspace, they also allow it to rotate from landscape to portrait orientation.
4. Wall Mounting Options
However, desk monitor arms take up some space on the desk, you can completely free up your workspace by incorporating a wall mount in your setup.
A wall monitor arm is another variant of mounting arms that attach to the wall and hold the monitor above the desk to maximize the workspace.
5. Good for Aesthetic Desk Setup
For aesthetic setup, monitor arms are the right choice as they create more desk space by eliminating the monitor completely off from the desk surface.
With more desk space, you have better options to organize the PC peripherals and accessories in a way that doesn’t look cluttered.
6. Built-in Cable Management
Another biggest advantage of monitor arms is that most of them come with a built-in cable management feature to hide the monitor cable from views.
Managing and hiding the extra cords is essential especially if you have a small desk as these extra tangy wires could easily lead to a cluttered workspace.
7. Built-in USB Ports
Last but not least, many monitor arms also come with USB ports to allow charging your USB devices or transferring data through USB cables.
Cons of Monitor Arms
However, there are an array of worthy advantages of monitor arms for a healthy workspace but there are some downsides also which you might not like.
1. Monitor Should be VESA Compatible
The first and the biggest disadvantage of monitor arms is that for mounting the monitor on these arms, the monitor should be VESA compliant.
The VESA is a standard for attaching the flat monitors onto the mounts that defines the distance between the four holes built on the back of the monitor in millimeters.
According to this, the monitor must have four holes built on its back, no matter what VESA-type holes are there. It must be there.
But if the monitor has no VESA holes, it will be very difficult, almost impossible to mount those monitors on the mounting system.
2. Installation is a bit Complicated
The second biggest disadvantage of monitor arms is that the installation process is a bit complex whether you’re installing them on the desk or on the wall.
When you purchase a monitor arm, they come to your doorstep in a complete package with several detached parts that need to be assembled together.
Then after you’ll have to install them in your preferred location based on the type of monitor arm you’ve purchased.
Whether you use C-clamp or grommet fastening for the desk or studs fastening for the wall mount, they involve some installation.
And if you’re using monitor arms for the very first time, it can be quite difficult for you to take them in place. So you’ll have to read its instruction manual.
3. Monitor Weight & Size Limitations
Each monitor arm, whether it is a desk mount or wall mount, both have monitor weight and size limitations, they don’t support all monitors.
You’ll have to pick a monitor arm that is built to support your monitor weight and size but it is not necessary that every mount supports all monitors.
All monitor arms have a monitor weight and size limitation printed on them that you’ve to check before you pick the wrong one.
4. Desk Arms Can Damage the Desk
For desk mounts, there is a separate issue and that is monitor arm can damage the desk especially if the desk has a wooden or glass tabletop.
Since desk mounts are attached via C-clamp or grommet base, they put the entire weight of the mounting system on a single spot.
This centralized pressure forces the c-clamp base to sink into the wooden desktop surface and leaves scratches and dents on it.
Whereas this centralized pressure can crack or shatter the glass tabletop especially if the glass is not tempered or the glass top is too thin.
5. Expensive for the Price
Lastly, monitor arms are more expensive than monitor stands, and if it is a dual monitor or multiple monitor mount then the price could be too high.
Pros and Cons of Monitor Stands
Now let’s discuss the major pros and cons of monitor stands and justify if this mounting system could be the right choice for your setup.
Let’s first see what benefits you get when the monitor stand is a part of your workspace or gaming space.
Pros of Monitor Stands
1. Cheaper for the Price
First of all, monitor stands are much cheaper than monitor arms (desk mounts and wall mounts) as they only have a basic design to elevate the monitor height.
Where even a good-quality single monitor arm can cost you anywhere around $50-$60, at the same price, you can buy two monitor stands.
2. Easy to Install
Monitor stands are very easy to place on the desk in contrast with desk mounts and wall mounts that need to be installed via clamp or studs system.
Where monitor arms require some DIY skills for drilling or tightening the screws, monitor stands are just free from these kinds of hassle.
They neither have fastening clamps nor studs (screw tightening system), they are directly placed on the desk surface without any fitting or drilling.
This easy installation ensures you’ll have no worry about any clamping. All it requires is a large space on your desk.
3. No Universal VESA Compatible Issue
Unlike monitor arms that only support VESA compatible monitors, monitor stands can handle all monitors of any model.
It’s no matter whether the monitor has VESA standard four holes built on its back or not because the monitor directly sits on the monitor stand via its own stand.
This is definitely an advantage of using a monitor stand when you’re not sure about the VESA holes for your computer monitor.
4. No Monitor Weight & Size Limitations
Monitor stands can easily handle all monitors of every size and weight. There is no limitation to incorporating the monitor stand in terms of monitor weight and size.
5. Provide Some Storage Space Underneath
Most monitor stands have some storage space underneath to keep the small office essentials like books, documents, stationery, etc hidden.
Even some well-designed monitor stands can accommodate a full-size keyboard inside it and help keep the workspace look neat and clean.
Plus, some expensive monitor stands also have a storage drawer and holder to store the mobile phone and tiny desk accessories.
Cons of Monitor Stands
1. Monitor Stands Take up Much Desk Space
Monitor stands are the only better option for people who want to elevate the monitor height and have plenty of space available on their desks.
Due to their large dimensions and heavy design, monitor stands are not a suitable option especially for small desks with low depth.
And as we know that space is essential for keeping essential peripherals and accessories, this can be annoying for a small desk.
2. Do Not Provide Ergonomic Benefits
The biggest disadvantage of monitor stands is that they don’t provide any ergonomic benefit to make posture and eyesight optimal.
They neither allow adjusting the monitor screen nor rotating in any way. They only allow moving the monitor further forward or backward.
They are fixed at one height and in one orientation with a limited range of motion for the screen, so you can’t adjust your eyesight with the monitor.
3. No Provisions for Cable Management
Another downside of the monitor stand is that they rarely have cable management options with it to hide the extra wire of monitor(s).
However, some have storage space but this space can’t be utilized to manage and hide the power cords of the monitors.
4. Monitors Are Less Stable
In many cases, you may find that the monitor stand isn’t stable enough and the monitor is shaking or wobbling every time when you type or use the mouse.
This could be because the monitor stand isn’t fixed down via any drilling or screws, it is just situated on the desk without fastening.
And if the desk is placed on an uneven floor or carpet and wobbles or vibrates anyhow, it could fall itself or the whole monitor screen.
Monitor Arm VS Monitor Stand: The Bottomline
It is very difficult to say which mounting system is the best but it depends on your preferences and the benefits you want from the mounts.
Since every person may have a different computer desk setup and according to the setup type, their needs and requirements could also be different.
For instance, for some people, more desk space could be the major factor, while aesthetics for others, and for some people, ergonomic benefits.
Broadly speaking, it is completely a subjective context that depends on one’s preference and setup needs.
The monitor arms are a better choice for ergonomic benefits, more desk space, and setup aesthetics but they are more expensive and involve installation complexities.
Whereas if you have a desk with bigger space, monitor stands are a better option on a budget as they are easy to position but they do not provide ergonomic benefits and consume more desk space.
FAQ: Monitor Arms vs Monitor Stands
1. Are monitor arms worth it?
2. Are monitor arms better than stands?
3. Should I get a dual monitor mount or two singles?
Whether it’s a monitor arm or monitor stand, both are great tools for workstations as both have their own advantages and disadvantages.
So, rather than saying which one is the right choice, it’s better to identify what your preferences are in terms of your setup requirements.
And since we’ve seen all the major pros and cons of both monitoring systems, it’s much clearer for you to decide which is the right choice for you.
Hoping that you’ve found this article helpful. If so, make sure to share this article on social media, and do let me know in the comment if you’ve any feedback on it.
I would be glad to hear from you about your feedback. 🙂
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